DVDBeaver Newsletter - February 2nd, 2008

Miiya! - 14 new reviews this week - a new Criterion, from David Lean to Wong Kar-Wai in high-definition, new Calendar Releases! some SALES, both Feature DVD and Blu-ray of the Month, and another new CONTEST. A mediocre week with both high and low points...


THE 'DVDBeaver Toolbar'! Give it a test drive! I've created a very simple toolbar for Film-Fans/DVD-o-philes/cinephiles. It embeds effortlessly within Internet Explorer 5.0+ (Windows Vista/XP/2000) and Firefox 1.0.1+ (Windows, Mac, Linux). It offers quick links to Searching both the Net (via Google) and DVDBeaver directly, Amazons, Forums (Criterion, Home Theater, AVS, Rotten Tomatoes, Film Noir), IMdb, DVDBasen, Beaver links, Cinephile Blogs/Journals (Rosenbaum, Kehr, Acquarello etc.). What do you think?
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DVD (and Blu-ray) of the Year 2008 POLL RESULTS HERE.


US Blu-ray BUY 3 for the PRICE of 2        UK Blu-ray 2 for 3 SALE


Amazon France Blu-ray SALE (BUY 1 get 1 FREE!)

FEBRUARY 2nd CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win a brand Blu-ray of Max Payne  - Best of luck all!

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Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.

LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER and save!):

Cross Creek (Martin Ritt, 1983) Lions Gate

Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, 2008) MiraMax

Vinyan (Fabrice Du Welz, 2008) Sony Pictures

Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone, 2008) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Taken (Pierre Morel, 2008) R2 UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Taken [Blu-ray] (Pierre Morel, 2008) R'B' UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Brokeback Mountain [Blu-ray] (Ang Lee, 2005) Universal Studios

The Reader [Blu-ray] (Stephen Daldry, 2008) Weinstein Company

Dr. Strangelove [Blu-ray] (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) Sony Pictures

An American in Paris [Blu-ray] (Vincente Minnelli, 1951) Warner

Gigi [Blu-ray] (Vincente Minnelli, 1958) Warner

It's a Pleasure (William A. Seiter, 1945) MGM

Cleopatra 75th Anniversary Edition (Cecil B. DeMille, 1934) Universal Home Video

Fly Away Home [Blu-ray] (Carroll Ballard, 1996) Sony Pictures

A Woman Called Golda (Alan Gibson, 1982) Paramount

Straw Dogs [Blu-ray] (Sam Peckinpah, 1971) R'B' UK Fremantle Home Entertainment

Trainspotting: Ultimate Collector's Edition [Blu-ray] (Danny Boyle, 1996) R'B' UK 4DVD

Pre-Code Hollywood Collection - The Cheat (1931, 74 min.) Merrily We Go to Hell (1932, 78 min.), Hot Saturday (1932, 73 min.), Torch Singer (1933, 71 min.), Murder at the Vanities (1934, 89 min.) Search for Beauty (1934, 78 min.) - Universal Home Video



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Hitting me hardest was Blindness. Not a film for everyone as it can be harsh in exposing society's breakdown but I got a lot out of my viewing. I thought Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna BR was a tremendous storytelling experience - scintillating filmmaking. I think it's fair to simply call Hobson's Choice a 'masterpiece'. They don't make films like Guinness-Greene-Reed's Our Man in Havana anymore - unfortunately the DVDs are resoundingly imperfect. Ashes of Time ReDux BR is certainly interesting - if feeling a bit piece-meal at times. LaBute's Lakeview Terrace BR gives pause for introspection. Time may very well judge Sideways BR as one of the better modern character pieces. I haven't seen Changeling BR yet but will definitely indulge based on Leonard's stellar review. A Time to Kill BR is a gripping courtroom drama that looks incredible in 1080P. The Secret Life of Bees BR deserves a wide audience. Although The Natalie Wood Collection may not be up to previous Warner standard it still rates for film value and viewing experience.


New Reviews:

The Natalie Wood Collection - Warner dish up six Natalie Wood films spanning the late 50's to the mid 60's - Bombers B-52: The era's mightiest fighting machine! A dissension-torn crew prepares for a test flight of a 2000-ton B-52 Stratofortress. Cash McCall: What's the real reason behind corporate raider Cash McCall's (James Garner) bid to snap up Austen Plastics? Could it be a way to woo the lovely daughter (Wood) of Austen's owner? Splendor in the Grass (remastered): Their hearts say yes. Their hometown says no. Repression reaps tragedy in a compelling tale of teenaged lovers in 1920s Kansas. Natalie Wood teams with screen-debuting Warren Beatty. Gypsy (remastered): You gotta have a gimmick! Stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (Wood) has one of the best, thanks to the coaching of stage mom Rosalind Russell. Sex and the Single Girl: From Helen Gurley Brown's bestseller! Natalie Wood is the girl who writes the book on love--and Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis, and Lauren Bacall join her in the boudoir bedlam that follows. Inside Daisy Clover: Who better to play a teen screen sensation than the star who was one of film's greatest child actors? Natalie Wood and up-and-comer Robert Redford shine in this inside-Tinseltown tale. DVD Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

Changeling BR - J. Michael Straczynski is very much interested in motive, and Eastwood makes certain that the horror behind the motive is exposed, if not explained. Why would a child go off in the company of a stranger? Why would someone murder children he doesn't even know, secretly and without gain? Why would those we hire, elect and certify to protect and serve conspire to commit crimes against those it is sworn to defend, fully cognizant of its effect? Why would the public say nothing for as long as it does? While the movie centers on the real life experience of one woman, it cannot help but hold up a mirror for society to examine its own culpability. Blu-ray Release date: February 17, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees BR - A heartwarming and empowering story based on the celebrated best-selling novel by the same name. The Secret Life of Bees stars Dakota Fanning (Charlotte’s Web, War Of the Worlds) as Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with her caregiver to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by the Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of bees and honey and inevitably discovers what it truly means to be a family. Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

A Time to Kill BR - John Grisham's bestseller A Time to Kill hits the screen with incendiary force, directed by Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, The Client). Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey and Kevin Spacey portray the principals in a murder trial that brings a small Mississippi town's racial tensions to the flashpoint. Amid a frenzy of activist marches, Klan terror, media clamor and brutal riots, an unseasoned but idealistic young attorney mounts a stirring courtroom battle for justice. The superb ensemble also includes Brenda Fricker, Oliver Platt, Charles S. Dutton, Ashley Judd, Patrick McGoohan, Chris Cooper and both Donald and Keifer Sutherland... Blu-ray Release Date: February 10th, 2009

Miracle at St. Anna BR - With the help – some would say, hindrance – of a screenplay by James McBride, based on his book, Spike Lee has fashioned a story about the experience of the American Negro soldier in WWII. As expected, Lee's take on racism is unflinching in its bitterness, especially as it focuses on the segregationist thinking of white field officers and policies of our military. That dialogue infects black soldiers as well, who can hardly be expected to take the notion of loyalty seriously. Yet they do. Perhaps this is the real miracle. Blu-ray Release date: February 10th, 2009

Ashes of Time ReDux BR - Celebrated director Wong Kar-Wai revisits his 1994 film ASHES OF TIME, the Hong Kong filmmaker's only entry into the martial arts genre. Based on the novel by Louis Cha, this film follows a lone swordsman (Leslie Cheung) as time passes. ASHES OF TIME REDUX also stars Tony Leung Ka Fai, Brigitte Lin, and Tony Leung Chiu Wai, and it features an appearance by Maggie Cheung. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2009

Sideways BR - A wine tasting road trip to salute Jack's (Thomas Haden Church) final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and Miles (Paul Giamatti) hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women (Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen). Emerging from a haze of pinot noir, wistful yearnings and trepidation about the future, the two inevitably collide with reality... Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

Hobson's Choice - An unsung comic triumph from David Lean, Hobson’s Choice stars the legendary Charles Laughton as the harrumphing Henry Hobson, the owner of a boot shop in late Victorian northern England. With his haughty, independent daughter Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) decides to forge her own path, romantically and professionally, with none other than Henry’s prized bootsmith Will (a splendid John Mills), father and daughter find themselves head-to-head in a fiery match of wills. Equally charming and caustic, Hobson’s Choice, adapted from Harold Brighouse’s famous play, is filled to the brim with great performances and elegant, inventive camera work. DVD Release Date: February 17th, 2009

Pretty Woman BR - Pretty Woman is a classic instance of how much an original concept can get turned on its head as it moves from pitch to final script, casting, shoot and edit. The original idea, titled 3000 after Ms. Roberts's character's purchase price, was far more cynical in its treatment of prostitution. Instead, what we have at the drop of a video disc, is a rags-to-riches Cinderella tale about a naïve hooker (Julia Roberts) who is transformed into a woman of elegance by a cavalier, multi-millionaire (Richard Gere) - with the help of the manager of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel (Hector Elizondo). In turn, Roberts brings true romance into Gere's life. Blu-ray Release date: February 10th, 2009

Our Man in Havana - Having found so much success with his adaptations of Graham Greene novels The Fallen Idol (1948) and The Third Man (1949), Carol Reed revisited the author's oeuvre with this fabulous satirical spy story. Ex-pat vacuum salesman Jim Wormold (Guinness) is roped into Britain's Cuban espionage division. Paid per item of intelligence, and desperate to send daughter Milly (Morrow) to an expensive European school, Wormold embellishes his reports with daring falsification. But the ruse has uneasy consequences, especially when his activities arouse the suspicions of police chief Captain Segura (Kovacs) suspicion. Guinness plays his part to perfection, an Everyman paddling furiously against the tide, and excellent support comes from Ralph Richardson (as the obsessive MI6 boss), Burl Ives and Paul Rogers (as rival agent). But Coward steals the show as his patrician spymaster. DVD Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

Drumline BR - Devon Miles (Nick Cannon) has just graduated high school in New York, prideful that he has accomplished this without drugs, arrests, or any help from his deadbeat dad. He also has a talent for drumming, enough for him to have been tapped by Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones) for a spot in his celebrated, if fictitious, marching band at Atlanta A&T University, along with the full scholarship that goes with it. Pride seems to be the name of his game. Devon might as well have graduated from Pride and Attitude High School - with honors. Blu-ray Release date: January 27, 2009

Blindness - Blindness may be one of the most impacting films I've ever seen on a first viewing (Grave of the Fireflies springs to mind as another). It would seem impossible not to question your own decision process vis-à-vis the story development. Blindness does this so well as it has such a broad spectrum of, essentially helpless, characters. Although the film can be intensely disturbing to many, it is such a grand exploration of challenging principles, forcing survivalist tendencies and a disparaging look at the frailty of our own civilization - that has evolved to this point. Under the circumstances proposed in Blindness - all that we, as a society, have accomplished can quickly revert us back to the most baser and primitive imaginable. An unnerving but wholly valid introspection. DVD Release Date: February 10th, 2009

Lakeview Terrace BR - It's a challenging journey LaBute takes us on. Some will find it exciting. Some will find it an opportunity for an examination of conscience. Some will leave feeling vaguely uneasy. Some won't like it and will be absolutely sure why they don't, but their reasons will not agree. Some will hate elements that others can't even see. Some will only see a thriller. I find movies like this alive and provoking, and I'm exhilarated to have my thinking challenged at every step of the way. Blu-ray Release Date: January 27th, 2009

Hulk vs. BR - Marvel Animated Features premieres two all new action-packed films together on one release - Hulk vs. Wolverine and Hulk vs.Thor. Hulk vs Wolverine: Alberta, Canada. The Incredible Hulk has been tearing a line across the Canadian countryside, leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. He has to be stopped, and there's only one man up to the job. He's the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn't very nice. He's Wolverine, an elite agent of Canada's top secret Department H, and he's been put on Hulk's trail with a single objective: stop the green goliath...at all costs. Hulk and Wolverine are about to enter the fiercest battle of their lives. Hulk vs. Thor: Asgard, realm of the gods. For ages, Loki the trickster has sought a way to bring defeat to his accursed stepbrother, Thor. But for all the battles Thor has fought, in all the nine realms, only one creature has ever been able to match his strength - a mortal beast of Midgard known as The Incredible Hulk. Now, with Odin, the almighty king of the gods, deep in a regenerative sleep, and the forces protecting Asgard at their weakest, Loki is finally ready to spring his trap. In an epic battle that will pit gods against monsters, that will test a hero's limits more than ever before, only The Mighty Thor can hope to prevail. Blu-ray Release Date: January 27th, 2009

Space Buddies BR - Five sibling puppies, owned by as many schoolmates, manage to stowaway in a rocket ship bound for a moon mission. What is supposed to make this remotely credible is that the mission is designed to be unmanned and controlled remotely from its launch station. So as long as the pups don't get in the way they could conceivably make the trip. But what plot would there be if they didn't lend a paw in their own destinies. Blu-ray Release date: February 3rd, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of February 2nd, 2009

Akira Kurosawa Box [Blu-ray] [Limited Release] (Rashomon, Ran, Madadayo, and The Quiet Duel - Shizukanaru Ketto) - R'0' Blu-ray - no English subtitles - Jesnet

The Alec Guinness Collection (The Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Man in the White Suit, The Captain’s Paradise and The Ladykillers) - Lions Gate Home Ent.

Barnacle Bill (Charles Frend, 1957) - R2 UK Optimum

Being There [Blu-ray] (Hal Ashby, 1979) Warner Home Video

Bottle Shock (Randall Miller, 2008) 20th Century Fox

Brief Encounter [Blu-ray] (David Lean, 1945) R0 UK ITV

Columbo: Mystery Movie Collection 1990 - Columbo Goes to College, Caution: Murder Can be Hazardous to Your Health, The Murder of a Rock Star, It's All in the Game, Butterfly in Shades of Grey and Undercover - Universal

Days and Clouds (Silvio Soldini, 2007) Film Movement

Diary (Oxide Pang Chun, 2006) Image Entertainment

Five (Arch Oboler, 1951) Sony Pictures

Gumshoe (Stephen Frears, 1971) Sony

Hounddog [Blu-ray] (Deborah Kampmeier, 2007) Hannover House

Inside Moves (Richard Donner, 1980) Lionsgate

Little Miss Sunshine [Blu-ray] (Jonathan Dayton + Valerie Faris, 2006) 20th Century Fox

Natalie Wood Signature Collection (Splendor in the Grass, The Gypsy, Sex and the Single Girl, Bombers B-52 and The Cash McCall) Warner Home Video

Our Man in Havana (Carol Reed, 1959) Sony

The Passion of the Christ [Blu-ray] (Mel Gibson, 2004) 20th Century Fox

Paura - Lucio Fulci Remembered Vol. 1 [Limited Edition] (Mike Baronas, 2008) Tempe Video

Peter Sellers Collection (I’m All Right, Jack!, The Smallest Show on Earth, Carlton-Browne of the F.O., Two-Way Stretch and Heavens Above) Lionsgate

The Secret Life of Bees [Blu-ray] (Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2008) 20th Century Fox

Sideways [Blu-ray] (Alexander Payne, 2004) 20th Century Fox


February 9th, 2008

A History of Violence [Blu-ray] (David Cronenberg, 2005) New Line Home Video

Amadeus [Blu-ray] (Milos Forman, 1984) Warner Home Video

Away With Words (Christopher Doyle, 1999) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Blindness (Fernando Meirelles, 2008) Miramax

The Boondock Saints [Blu-ray] (Troy Duffy, 2000) Fox/MGM

Chocolate [Blu-ray] (Prachya Pinkaew, 2008) Magnolia

Cross Creek (Martin Ritt, 1983) Lions Gate

Djinn [Blu-ray] (Sean Solimon, 2008) Giant Flick Films

Donnie Darko [Blu-ray] (Richard Kelly, 2001) 20th Century Fox

Eagle Shooting Heroes (Jeffrey Lau, 1993) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Enforcer (Corey Yuen, 1995) Dragon Dynasty

The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, 1962) Criterion

Frozen River (Courtney Hunt, 2008) Sony Pictures

Frozen River [Blu-ray] (Courtney Hunt, 2008) Sony Pictures

Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone, 2008) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Gomorrah [
Blu-ray] (Matteo Garrone, 2008) R'B' UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952) Criterion

Iowa (Matt Farnsworth, 2005) Koch Vision

Iraq in Fragments [Blu-ray] (James Longley, 2005) Typecast Releasing

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1943) Criterion

The Lodger (Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) MGM

The Lodger (David Ondaatje, 2009) Sony

Miracle at St. Anna (Spike Lee, 2008) Touchstone / Disney
Miracle at St. Anna [
Blu-ray] (Spike Lee, 2008) Touchstone / Disney

My Name Is Bruce [Blu-ray] (Bruce Campbell, 2007) Image Entertainment

Nights in Rodanthe (George C. Wolfe, 2008) Warner Home Video
Nights in Rodanthe [
Blu-ray] (George C. Wolfe, 2008) Warner Home Video

The Paradine Case (Alfred Hitchcock, 1947) MGM

The Pelican Brief [Blu-ray] (Alan J. Pakula, 1993) Warner

Raging Bull [Blu-ray] (Martin Scorsese, 1980) Mgm Entertainment

The Rundown [Blu-ray] (Peter Berg, 2003) Universal Studios
Sabotage (Alfred Hitchcock, 1936) MGM

The Sea Inside (Alejandro Amenábar, 2004) New Line Home Video

Simon of the Desert (Luis Buñuel, 1965) Criterion

La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954) Criterion

Taken (Pierre Morel, 2008) R2 UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Taken [
Blu-ray] (Pierre Morel, 2008) R'B' UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A Time to Kill [Blu-ray] (Joel Schumacher, 1996) Warner
Young & Innocent (Alfred Hitchcock, 1937) MGM

W. (Oliver Stone, 2008) Lions Gate Home Entertainment
W. [
Blu-ray] (Oliver Stone, 2008) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

What Just Happened? (Barry Levinson, 2008) Magnolia
What Just Happened? [
Blu-ray] (Barry Levinson, 2008) Magnolia

"You may be disappointed if you fail.... but you are doomed if you don't try." - Beverly Sills
Have a great week,